William Stephen "Bill" Belichick (pronounced /ˈbɛlɨtʃɪk/; born April 16, 1952) is an American football head coach for the New England Patriots of the National Football League. Coaching continuously in various roles in the NFL since 1975, Belichick earned his first head coaching job with the Cleveland Browns in 1991. Following his firing in 1995, he did not serve as a head coach again until 2000 with the Patriots. Since then, Belichick has coached the Patriots to five Super Bowl appearances: victories in Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, and XXXIX, and subsequent losses in Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI. He was named the AP NFL Coach of the Year for the 2003, 2007 and 2010 seasons. He is the NFL's second-longest tenured active head coach, behind Andy Reid.
Bill Belichick was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and raised in Annapolis, Maryland, where his father Steve Belichick was an assistant football coach at the United States Naval Academy. He graduated from Annapolis High School in 1970. While there, he played American football and lacrosse, with the latter being his favorite sport. He enrolled at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts for a postgraduate year, with the intention of improving his grades and test scores in order to be admitted into a quality college. The school would honor him forty years later by inducting him into its Athletics Hall of Honor in 2011.
Belichick subsequently attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut where he played center and tight end. In addition to being a member of the football team, he played lacrosse and squash, serving as the captain of the lacrosse team during his senior season. A member of Chi Psi fraternity, he earned a bachelor's degree in economics in 1975. He would eventually be part of the inaugural induction class into the university's Athletics Hall of Fame in Spring 2008.
After graduating, Belichick took a $25-per-week job as an assistant to Baltimore Colts head coach Ted Marchibroda in 1975. In 1976, he joined the Detroit Lions as their assistant special teams coach before adding tight ends and wide receivers to his coaching duties in 1977. He spent the 1978 season with the Denver Broncos as their assistant special teams coach and defensive assistant.
New York Giants
In 1979, Belichick began his 12-year stint with the New York Giants alongside head coach Ray Perkins as a defensive assistant and special teams coach. He added linebackers coaching to his duties in 1980 and was named defensive coordinator in 1985 under head coach Bill Parcells, who had replaced Perkins in 1983. The Giants won Super Bowls following the 1986 and 1990 seasons. His defensive game plan from the New York Giants' 20-19 upset of the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV is now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
From 1991 until 1995, Belichick was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. During his tenure in Cleveland he compiled a 36–44 record, leading the team to the playoffs in 1994, his only winning year with the team. In Belichick's last season in Cleveland the Browns finished 5–11. In November of that year the former owner of the Browns, Art Modell, announced he would move his franchise to Baltimore after the season. Belichick resigned early in February 1996.
New England Patriots (1996)
After leaving Cleveland, Belichick served under Parcells again as assistant head coach and defensive backs coach with the Patriots for the 1996 season. The Patriots finished with an 11-5 record, won the AFC championship, but lost to the Green Bay Packers at Super Bowl XXXI.
New York Jets
Soon after Super Bowl XXXI, Belichick (and most of the Patriots assistant coaches) migrated with Parcells to the New York Jets. Belichick served as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the Jets from 1997 to 1999. When Parcells stepped down as head coach in 1999, he had already arranged with team management to have Belichick succeed him. However, Belichick would be the New York Jets' head coach for only one day. When Belichick was introduced as head coach to the media—the day after his hiring was publicized—he turned it into a surprise-resignation announcement. Before taking the podium, he scrawled a resignation note on a sheet of loose leaf paper that read, in its entirety, "I resign as HC of the NYJ." He then delivered a half-hour speech explaining his resignation to the assembled press corps.
Soon after this bizarre turn of events, he was introduced as the New England Patriots' new head coach; the team had tried to hire him away from Parcells/the Jets in the past. Parcells and the Jets claimed that Belichick was still under contract to the Jets, and demanded compensation from the Patriots. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue agreed, and the Patriots gave the Jets a first-round draft pick in 2000 in exchange for the right to hire Belichick.
New England Patriots
Bill Belichick was named New England Patriots head coach in 2000, succeeding Pete Carroll. Until 2009, Belichick split many of the duties normally held by a general manager on other clubs with player personnel director Scott Pioli while retaining the final say in decisions. Since the departure of Pioli, team owner Robert Kraft has given Belichick almost complete authority over football operations, effectively making him the team's general manager as well. He is one of three current NFL coaches with the title or powers of general manager, the others being the Philadelphia Eagles' Andy Reid and the Washington Redskins' Mike Shanahan.
The Patriots went 5-11 in the 2000 regular season and missed the playoffs. To date, this is Belichick's only losing season with the Patriots.
In 2001, the Patriots went 11–5 in the regular season, and defeated the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers on the way to the Super Bowl. In Super Bowl XXXVI, Belichick's defense held the St. Louis Rams' offense, which had averaged 31 points during the season, to 17 points, and the Patriots won on a last second field goal by Adam Vinatieri. The win was the first Super Bowl championship in Patriots history.
The following season (2002), the Patriots went 9–7 and missed the playoffs. New England finished with the same record as the New York Jets, but the Jets clinched the AFC East title as a result of the third tiebreaker (record among common opponents).
The Patriots' 2003 season started with a 31–0 loss to the Buffalo Bills in week 1 a few days after they released team defense captain Lawyer Milloy. The team went on to win 14 out of their remaining 15 games. In the final week of the regular season the Patriots avenged their loss to the Bills by the same 31–0 score. They defeated the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional round. Playing against the Indianapolis Colts and Co-MVP Peyton Manning (Steve McNair of the Titans was also Co-MVP) the Patriots recorded 4 interceptions, and advanced to Super Bowl XXXVIII, where they defeated the Carolina Panthers 32-29 on a late Adam Vinatieri field goal. Belichick also was awarded with the NFL Coach of the Year Award.
In 2004, the Patriots once again went 14–2, and defeated the Colts in the AFC divisional round. They opened the season at 6–0, which combined with the 15 straight wins to end the previous regular season, those 21 straight wins broke the record for most wins in a row (18 regular season wins in a row), formerly held by the Miami Dolphins during and just after their perfect 1972 season with 18 straight wins (16 regular season, 1971–73). They defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship game. In Super Bowl XXXIX the Patriots beat the Philadelphia Eagles and became only the second team to win three Super Bowls in four years. Belichick is the only coach to accomplish this feat.
With a new defensive coordinator in Eric Mangini and no named offensive coordinator, the Patriots went 10–6 in 2005 and defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Wild Card round before losing to the Denver Broncos in the divisional round.
The Patriots went 12-4 in 2006 and defeated the New York Jets in the Wild Card round. They then beat the San Diego Chargers the next week, before losing to the eventual Super Bowl XLI winner Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game 38-34. The Patriots led 21-3 mid-way during the second quarter, and the Colts comeback was the largest in AFC playoff history since the Bills recovered from a 35-3 halftime deficit to beat the Houston Oilers.
In 2007, Bill Belichick led the Patriots to the first perfect regular season since the introduction of the 16-game regular season schedule in 1978, only the fourth team to do so in National Football League history after the 1934 and 1942 Chicago Bears and 1972 Miami Dolphins. However, the Patriots were upset in Super Bowl XLII by the New York Giants The Patriots' failure to attain a "perfect season" (undefeated and untied, including playoffs) preserved the Miami Dolphins as the sole team to do so, having finished their 1972 regular season at 14-0 and having won three games in the playoffs. Only two other teams in professional football have recorded a perfect season - the 1948 Cleveland Browns (14–0) of the then All-America Football Conference and the 1948 Calgary Stampeders (12-0) of the Canadian Football League. No team in the former American Football League had a perfect season.
In the Patriots' 2008 season-opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, quarterback Tom Brady suffered a season-ending injury in the first quarter, leading to the substitution by back-up quarterback Matt Cassel for the remainder of the season. However, with a win in week 2, the Patriots broke their own record for regular season wins in a row with 21 (2006–08). After losing over a dozen players to the injured reserve list, including Rodney Harrison, Adalius Thomas, and Laurence Maroney, the Patriots still managed their league-leading eighth consecutive season with a winning record, going 11–5. Nevertheless, the Patriots, who finished second in the highly competitive AFC East failed to qualify for the NFL playoffs losing tiebreakers to the Dolphins who were also 11-5 and won the division; the 1985 Denver Broncos are the only other 11-win team to miss the playoffs in a 16-game season.
On January 22nd, 2012 the Patriots won the AFC Championship game when career Baltimore Ravens kicker, Billy Cundiff missed a routine 32-yard field goal attempt, sending New England to their fifth Super Bowl under Belichick.